What do you do when the star dish of your favorite holiday is decadent, rich, and crunchy fried treat?

If you ask cookbook author extraordinaire and food writer Adeena Sussman, it’s all about balance. She wasn’t about to forgo the familiar textures of fried potato latkes and jelly donuts for her traditional Hanukkah spread this year. Instead, the California-born New Yorker, who now lives in Tel Aviv, likes to balance out the more indulgent classics with a dose of healthyish sides. “It’s about fried foods in a new light: serving a green mixture over latkes, broccoli cottage cheese pancakes fried in olive oil, and a citrusy sumac chicken salad is very Tel Aviv in winter,” Sussman says. 

Sunshine and seasonal produce are foundational to Sussman, whose daily trips to the local open-air market (called the Shuk) inspired her to create the sunny, Mediterranean recipes in her first solo cookbook: Sababa: Sunny, Fresh Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen.  Between the bright, crave-able recipes, and a name that means “everything is awesome,” it’s not surprising Sababa was named one of the best cookbooks of 2019 by the New York Times, Food & Wine, and Bon Appetit

While on an extended stay in Los Angeles, where she’s helping co-author Chrissy Teigen’s third book in the Cravings series, Sussman shared her new take on a menu for the Festival of Lights:

 

Creamy Green Shakshuka with Crispy Latkes

Green Shakshuka Recipe

I wanted my green shakshuka base to hold together like a sauce the way its cousin, red shakshuka, does, almost becoming one with the eggs. I found my solution in an American steakhouse side: creamed spinach. By adding half-and-half to the cooked greens, it brings them together, taking on the earthy flavor of the vegetables while adding a little sweetness and creaminess. I took it a step further, making latkes that serve as the ideal landing spot for those golden yolks and sauce. You can make the sauce, cover it, move on to the latkes, and then, while they’re frying to a crisp, warm the sauce, add the eggs, and finish the shakshuka.

 

For the Shakshuka:

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound (about 16 cups) roughly chopped stemmed mixed green leaves (such as kale, spinach, chard), from 1½ pounds unstemmed mixed greens
¼ cup vegetable broth
1 cup packed mixed fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil), finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, za’atar, or oregano
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeños
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more to taste
½ cup half-and-half (or ¾ cup if you’re feeling the creamed-spinach vibe)
8 large eggs

 

For the Latkes:

2 very large Russet potatoes (2 pounds), scrubbed
1 medium onion
2 large eggs
½ tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup vegetable oil

 

Directions:

Set a rack in the top third of the oven.

Make the shakshuka: In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, 9 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 more minute. Raise the heat to medium-high, then add the greens in batches, stirring as they wilt and release most of their liquid, 2 to 3 minutes per batch (you don’t want the greens to be completely dead, but they should have slumped and reduced in size significantly). Add the vegetable broth and cook until mostly absorbed. Stir in the mixed herbs, thyme, jalapeño, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Preheat the broiler. Reduce the heat on the stove to medium-low, stir in the half-and-half, and simmer until the mixture unifies and thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes (at this point you can turn off the heat, cover the mixture, and make the latkes). Use a spoon to hollow out eight small wells for the eggs, and crack the eggs into the wells. Cook for 3 minutes, then transfer to the oven and cook until the whites are just opaque but the yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve over latkes.

Make the latkes: Fill a large bowl with cold water. Using the large holes on the side of a box grater (or a food processor fitted with the shredder attachment), grate the potatoes and onions, transfer them to the water, and let them sit for 5 minutes. Place a clean kitchen towel on the counter near the sink. Pull the potatoes and onions out of the water, squeeze out as much water as you can back into the bowl, and let the water settle. Dump the potatoes and onions onto the towel, fold the towel over the mixture, and squeeze out and discard as much of the liquid as you can from the potatoes and onions. Gently drain the water out of the large bowl, tipping out all the water but leaving the white potato starch at the bottom. Add the squeezed potatoes and onions to the sludge in the bowl, then add the eggs, salt, and pepper and stir it all together.

Meanwhile, heat ¼ cup of the vegetable oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat (don’t worry, they’ll still crisp, without burning). Two or three at a time, spoon the mixture into the pan ⅓ cup at a time into 4-inch-round, ½-inch-thick latkes, pressing down gently, and fry until each side is golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining batter and oil; drain latkes on paper towels. Serve with the green shakshuka.

 

Broccoli Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Broccoli Cottage Latkes Recipe

It’s not uncommon in Israel to see all manner of savory levivot, or pancakes, and ketzizot (patties). This decidedly retro one, made with cottage cheese and broccoli, falls somewhere in the middle. Cottage cheese is so rich and creamy here—it really adds something to the finished pancakes—so don’t skimp on the fat. Aim for a minimum of 4%, which is usually the highest you can find in American supermarkets. It’s all about getting the proportions right for a lacy, cloudlike creation that’s as good for dinner, lunch, or a snack as it is for breakfast.

 

Ingredients:

1½ cups broccoli florets (from ½ small head), finely chopped
1 cup full-fat cottage cheese
2 large eggs
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
Sour cream, for serving

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl, stir the broccoli, cottage cheese, eggs, flour, chives, dill, baking powder, salt, and pepper until combined. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Make pancakes out of the batter, using 3 tablespoons per pancake. Fry until the edges are lacy and browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side, adding more oil to the skillet between batches as needed. Serve with sour cream and garnish with chopped dill.

 

Sumac Grilled Chicken, Citrus, and Avocado Salad

Winter Salad Recipe

This may be the perfect sunny winter salad: juicy citrus, creamy avocados, crunchy lettuce, and a tangy sumac marinade and dressing. Since the chicken is also great served cold, you can basically make all the elements in advance and assemble it when you’re ready to eat.

 

For the Chicken:

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh clementine or orange juice (from 2 clementines), plus 3-inch-thick strips of clementine zest
1 tablespoon sumac
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
4 scallions (white and green parts), cut into 2-inch lengths and bruised lightly
5 sprigs thyme
1½ pounds thin-cut chicken cutlets (about 8 pieces)
Canola oil, for greasing the pan or grates

 

For the Dressing:

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed clementine or orange juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon sumac, plus more for sprinkling

 

For the Salad:

2 medium heads romaine, leaves washed and torn
1 large ripe avocado, sliced
1 medium orange, rind removed, cut into ¼-inch rounds
1 clementine, rind removed, cut into ¼-inch rounds
1 medium grapefruit, rind removed, cut into ¼-inch rounds
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons chopped toasted pistachios
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (or tiny mint leaves)

 

Directions:

Marinate the chicken: Combine the olive oil, clementine juice and zest, sumac, salt, pepper, scallions, and thyme in a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag. Using your hands, move the ingredients around to incorporate them. Add the chicken to the bag, move it around to coat it, seal the bag, and chill to marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. Ten to 15 minutes before cooking, remove the chicken from the refrigerator to come to room temperature.

Make the dressing: In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, clementine juice, salt, pepper, and sumac, and shake until creamy.

Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, shake off excess liquid, and season with salt and pepper. Brush the pan or grates with canola oil, then grill the chicken until caramelized and grill marks form, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cool slightly.

Assemble the salad: Arrange the romaine, avocado, and citrus on a platter. Arrange the chicken on the salad, shake the remaining dressing again, and drizzle the dressing on top. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and mint.

Recipes reprinted with permission from “Sababa” by Adeena Sussman, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright 2019 by Adeena Sussman.

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